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Economy & Politics

Finance Bill: Drama as Reps boycott public hearing 

It appears things did not go as planned following the decision of the National Assembly to hold a joint public hearing over the Finance Bill. 

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Finance Bill: Public hearing to hold tomorrow despite dissenting voices , Finance Bill: Drama over Public hearing as Reps boycott hearing 

It appears things did not go as planned following the decision of the finance committee of the House of Representatives not to attend a joint public hearing over dissenting views trailing the passage of the Finance Bill.

As reported by Punch, members of the House of Representatives were not carried along by members of the Senate regarding the proposed public hearing. This led to anger and resentment on the part of the members of the Finance Committee of the House of Representatives.

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The Details: Choosing to confide in journalists, the representatives believed the Senate chose to conduct matters regarding the finance bill in secret.

SEEPCO, local content laws, CBN Cashless Policy: Reps eye policy reversal, court Emiefele approval , Lawmakers tackle Finance Minister over failed CCTV project worth $460 million , Former Ghanaian President, Mahama begs Buhari to open border Former President of Ghana, John Mahama has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to open up its borders saying that Ghana has been heavily affected by Nigeria’s decision to close its borders. Mahama said that for economic activities to resume in West Africa, Nigeria needs to reconsider its decision on the total border closure. He made this plea while delivering the seventh anniversary lecture of investiture into The Realnews Hall of Fame and the unveiling of a book, titled: Pathways to Political and Economic Development of Africa. According to the former president as reported in The Nation, the closure of especially the Benin border, was taking a significant toll on many small and medium businesses, especially in Togo, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire, which relied on inter-country trade. “I am sure that businesses in Nigeria that rely on supplies from these countries are also suffering. With the signing of the joint border task force agreement between Nigeria and her neighbours, I will like to take this opportunity to appeal to Nigeria to open up her border so that economic activities can resume,” Mahama said. While reacting to the shut down of shops owned by Nigerians by the Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA) as retaliation to the border closure, Mahama said; “Back home in Ghana, I also look forward to our government’s intervention that brings an immediate cessation to the forceful and illegal closure of shops of foreigners, especially Nigerians, by members of the local trade associations”. Mahama who is a former Chairman of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) spoke on how he still has an abiding interest in the progress of ECOWAS and its people. In this light, he said that Nigeria being the home of ECOWAS and the largest economy in West Africa should not allow the objective principles for establishment of ECOWAS to be lost. Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor of Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to yield to pressure to reopen the borders. Edoumiekumo who was also present at the lecture said President Buhari should remain firm in his resolve to ensure economic growth and the country’s development as the border closure will generate more revenue for the nation and tackle smuggling.

A Drama of supremacy: However, the truth of the matter is that members of the House of Representatives chose to boycott the joint hearing because they were informed late on Sunday evening after news of the hearing had widely circulated in the media.

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A source from the House Committee protested the late notice, tagging it a matter of disrespect.

[READ MORE: Buhari proposes sweeping changes to tax laws in 2019 Finance Bill]

There was a circular that we should not attend the public hearing. The Speaker too was only informed on Sunday about the hearing. So, we agreed not to be part of the hearing.

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“The Senate treats us with disdain and this has to stop. We only heard about the hearing when we saw the adverts in the newspaper. This is an insult and this has to stop,” the source said.

Dire Implications: The boycott has culminated into fear which could affect the passage of the 2020 Budget at the appropriate time.

The leadership has directed us to be prepared for our own public hearing on the bill. After all, we have similar legislative powers with the Senate.

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“Our fear now is that the development could threaten the passage of the 2020 budget this year because the amendments have to be included in the 2020 Appropriation bill,” the source added.

Notwithstanding whether the members from the lower chamber feel cheated or not, the members of the upper chamber still went ahead with the public hearing.

It can be recalled that Solomon Adeola, Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance and convener of the public hearing, noted that a wide number of financial experts had expressed their discomfort towards the bill that could see a spike in Value Added Tax (VAT), Company Income Tax and other taxes.

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Hence, the importance of the public hearing which was meant to comprise of both the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Finance to allow all parties to air their views concerning the bill.

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Patricia

Reincarnated as a lover of stocks, Angel investors, seed funds, and anything aligned to tech or startups raising money, Joseph's work at Nairametrics involves following the money to wherever it leads. Before joining Nairametrics, he won an investigative journalism fellowship with ICIR, appeared in several national dallies, with hard-hitting opinions, features and investigative pieces. He has also engaged in content marketing and copywriting for a top e-commerce firm in Nigeria.

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Economy & Politics

Nigeria only hit 56% of its target revenue in first five of months of 2020 

Nigeria’s earnings in the period were N1.48 trillion which is 56% off its main target.

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Zainab Ahmed, Pres. Buhari to review Finance Bill, tax reform yearly to finance budget 

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed revealed that Nigeria was only able to meet 56% of its target revenue from January to May as the global oil price crash affected government revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Nigeria’s earningin the period were N1.48 trillion which is 56% off its main target, crude oil revenues accounted for half of Nigeria’s revenues, while non-oil revenues made up the rest in the first 5 months of the year. 

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On Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the new 2020 revised budget of N10.8 trillion with the crude oil benchmark reduced from $57 per barrels in the earlier budget to $25 in the new budget.

The Minister said the budget had to be revised because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria’s economy. She added that Nigeria’s crude oil production would be an average of 1.86 million barrels per day next year and rise to 2.09 million the following year. 

 “Although Nigeria’s total production capacity is 2.5 million barrels per day, current crude production is about 1.4 million barrels per day — in compliance with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ production quota – and an additional 300,000 barrels per day of condensates, totaling about 1.7 million barrels per day,” she said. 

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Patricia
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Economy & Politics

2021 Budget: FG projects spending plan of N11.86 trillion and deficit of N5.16 trillion

This tops 2020 budgeted expenditure of N10.8 trillion.

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IMF, International monetary fund, Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria's Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning

The Federal Government is projecting to spend N11.86 trillion for 2021. This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed at a virtual presentation of the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) held on Friday.

According to the finance minister, the government is planning to spend N11.86 trillion against revenue of N6.98 trillion meaning the government will have to grapple with a fiscal deficit of  N5.16 trillion.

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Zainab Ahmed;

“The 2021-2023 MTEF&FSP is the pre-budget statement that provides the framework for the development of the 2021 budget. It is being framed against the backdrop of challenging global macroeconomic environment as well as domestic factors.

“We aim to keep the deficit within the three percent ceiling over the medium term and are therefore working on identifying new revenue sources and or cost of reduction.”

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The minister noted that the 2021-2023 draft had been prepared against the backdrop of heightened global economic uncertainty.

Earlier today President Buhari signed the revised 2020 national budget of N10.8 trillion, which was passed by the National Assembly in June. The National Assembly passed a revised budget of N10.8 trillion on the 11th of June after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a revised budget of N10.523trillion in May. 2020 Budget is based on a revised oil benchmark of $25 per barrel as against $57 while crude production was reduced from 2.18 million to 1.94 million barrels per day  Budget deficit for 2020 is estimated at N5.365 trillion.

As of March 2020, the FG was running a 52% shortfall in the first quarter of the year with actual revenue collected of N950 trillion compared to budgeted revenue  N1.96 trillion.

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What this means: Nigeria is facing an unprecedented revenue crisis exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the crash in oil prices. At N5.16 trillion, Nigeria’s projected budget deficit will be 43% of spending and about 3.6% of GDP if the budget is passed. A budget deficit means the government will have to borrow heavily next year to fund its expenditure programs.

The government received a $3.4 billion funding from the IMF in April and expects another $3.5 billion from the World Bank in August 2020. The government also revealed it has no plans to access the commercial market for foreign debts as it takes advantage of lower interest rates in the domestic market.

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Economy & Politics

Buhari appoints new Ag. Chairman of EFCC, gives reason for Magu’s suspension

The statement revealed why Ibrahim Magu, was suspended by the President.

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Ibrahim Magu, Buhari appoints new Ag. Chairman of EFCC, gives reason for Magu's suspension

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Mohammed Umar as the new acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

Umar who is EFCC’s Director of Operations was asked to take charge and oversee the operations and activities of the anti-corruption agency pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation on the allegations against Ibrahim Magu and further directives in that regards.

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This was disclosed by the Special Assistant Media and Public Relations to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Dr Umar Gwandu, in a press statement on Friday, July 10, 2020, in Abuja.

The statement revealed that the former acting Chairman for EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, was suspended by the President in order to allow for an unhindered probe by the Presidential Investigation Panel which is headed by Rtd Justice Ayo Salami under the Tribunal of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.

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READ ALSO: Senate to probe FG over reduction of MTN’s $8.1 billion fine

The presidential panel was set up to investigate various cases of official misconduct and financial irregularities against Ibrahim Magu, who has been in detention since Monday, July 6, following his invitation for questioning by the panel.

The allegations were made by the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami, who demanded for his removal as the acting Chairman of the EFFC in a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari.

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